What are your expectations of others at shows?

While reading a recent LinkedIn post from one of my former mediation professors Tammi Lenski (see link below), it occurred to me that this is likely a dog show phenomenon that unconsciously plays out at dog shows.

How do we let the things that someone else tells us influence our belief, attitude and behavior toward others and in turn, their’s toward us?

What do exhibitors expect of judges? If they expect a judge to be out of sorts or unpleasant or incompetent, does the judge unconsciously respond in kind and be less pleasant to that exhibitor? This could certainly account for all the different opinions that I see on the Facebook posts in the dog show groups. We see one person post how pleasant a judge is and another’s experience is just the opposite within the same few moments in the ring. What factors influenced the judge in each of these instances?

When we decide someone is difficult, our own belief about them may well be contributing to their difficult behavior.

Tammi Lenski

What about how owner handlers and professional handlers act and respond to each other? If an owner handler feels anger or contempt toward a certain professional, how does that play out in competition? Remember that in these studies, neither party knew anything about the other except what they were told.

What are we telling each other about a third party? Who is whispering in your ear and influencing your opinions about others at dog shows, whether it be a judge or a fellow exhibitor, the superintendent or even the AKC Executive Field Representative.

My takeaways here are, first trust my own intuition and experiences and be careful who I let influence my opinions of others. Second is the old adage: “if we want others to change, we must change first.”